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Young Pastor a Bridge for Multi-Ethnic Community


WASHINGTON -- Latinos in the United States are expected to triple in size by the year 2050, when they'll make up close to 30 percent of the population.

That trend is one reason why so many denominations are focused on Hispanics as a key to church growth.

It's also why a young Latino preacher in Washington, D.C., is drawing attention with his cutting-edge ministry.

He's just 25 years old, but Josue Urrutia is already an experienced pastor and rising star in the rapidly growing Hispanic evangelical church movement.

"God has spoken to me about a pastoral calling all the way as far as I can remember, maybe 5 years old. But I planned for it to be something down the road," Urrutia told CBN News.

God had other plans. At age 19, he called Urrutia into the ministry to start a very different kind of Hispanic church.

"We wanted to merge both a church that was relevant to the new generation but has well-kept the values of traditional and the older generation," he explained.

"The church that he's raising up, it's different from the traditional Hispanic church. Number one, it's not a Hispanic church. It's multi-cultural, led by a Hispanic," Rev. Tony Suarez said.

"I believe that the fact that we're a Hispanic-led church doesn't limit us to reaching Hispanics," Urrutia said. "I believe that the kingdom of God and heaven will look very multi-cultural."

Urrutia said he hopes his church will influence leaders in the nation's capitol and beyond. His plans already include expanding to Baltimore.

"A few years ago it was just a Bible study group and now it's one of the fastest growing Hispanic churches on the Northeast and it continues to grow," Suarez said. "I think he'll be a megachurch pastor very soon."

Urrutia has won praise for reaching young adults who want nothing to do with church. The magazine Christianity Today recently named him one of its 33 Christian leaders under 33 who are shaping the next generation of faith.

Instead, he said he hopes to serve as a bridge linking established voices in the church with new ones, all for the sake of the Gospel.

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